Milwaukee’s 14th Aldermanic District

Last week I posted a short blog about Bay View attorney Jan Pierce challenging Alderman Tony Zielinski for the seat. Little did I know that this little blog which I expected only a handful of people to care about would garner the most interest and attention of anything I’ve posted. Yes it doesn’t look that impressive on BB, but both campaigns have reached out to me and a number of others have posted on Facebook. So now I have decided to follow up with three related posts. This first one in the series will briefly outline just a few of the issues that I would expect to be discussed during the campaign. I hope to follow with an article about each candidate after I’ve had the opportunity to talk with each of them. The following discussion is not a criticism of any current or future candidate…but just what I think needs to be addressed for the city and district to succeed.

Over the past 5 months a tidal wave of legislation has either been passed in Madison or approved in committee for inclusion in Gov. Walker’s first budget that will have tremendously negative impacts on Milwaukee. The most obvious is the one that has caused the most uproar in the Capitol and that is the nullification of collective bargaining for public employees. And then the cuts to state revenue sharing with the cities, the artificial limits on taxing authorities to levy property taxes to cover the shortfalls, the reassignment of shared funds for local street/road repairs, the abolition of residency requirements for Milwaukee police and fire fighters (there are 122 municipalities in WI with similar laws, why only Milwaukee?). the unfunded mandate of voter ID that will require additional poll workers and the maintenance of poll logs for voters to sign, the $100,000 limit on local governments for local road repair at which point they must bid out the work to private contractors, etc. And although not directly applicable to city government, cuts to MPS which will make it harder to educate our youth and limit our ability to maintain a skilled workforce, cuts to public transportation which will decrease many of our citizens mobility and increase demands for other infrastructure items like roads and parking.

The next alderman needs to be actively concerned about these issues…able to work with citizens to determine immediate needs…able to work with other local officials including county and neighboring municipalities and willing and able to lobby our representatives in Madison to make sure that Wisconsin stops handicapping Milwaukee directly by its actions.

Speaking of infrastructure, the City of Milwaukee has continued effective and efficient city service such as trash/recycling pickup and snow removal. But have you paid any attention to the local streets? Portions of major throughfares including Oklahoma and Kinnickinnic Avenues are pockmarked and deteriorating at incredible rates and the secondary and residential streets are well past their useful life spans. The next alderman will need to address those basic issues.

Development of the district will be critical. The 14th has seen some significant growth over the past 8 to 10 years and we have a great entertainment district now. But we need more businesses that can pay better than waitstaff wages or retail wages. Jobs that provide livable wages and benefits.

Improvements in public transportation are key to the areas growth. The major bus routes running into and through the area have been reduced or eliminated by the last county executive and need to be restored and/or improved. And can we develop a new plan to develop a parking ramp on the city lot on E. Lincoln just east of KK so we can improve parking and traffic flow in the area?

Along with our entertainment district we’ve seen new events and revitalized events throughout the area, including the South Shore Frolics, South Shore Farmers Market, Chill on the Hill, Bay View Gallery Night, Bay View Block Party and more. The alderman needs to be a cheerleader for these events and do what he can to keep them viable. And can we reduce the impact on immediate neighbors without impacting an event…like shuttles for the Frolics or Chill or 4th of July Fireworks along the Bay View lakefront or Humboldt Park.

We have a number of areas that need redevelopment…particularly the industrial area between Bay Street and the Kinnickinnic river…like the junk yard just north of KK and Bay and the old Louis Allis plant. There is also a swath of green space south of Bay Street that might be appropriate for housing that fits with the existing neighborhood (as opposed to the housing proposed several years ago that would have been non-conforming). And care should be taken in the development of new housing, particularly condos or apartments…that they be distinctive without being obtrusive. I’d hate to turn Bay View into the east side or the beer line.

The Sweetwater Organics expansion to the brown field that was the Army Reserve center just north of the Beulah Brinton center must be brought to fruition. Can we finally find someone with the wherewithal to restore the Avalon Theater building. Can we bring more professional offices and services to the area?

And speaking of Sweetwater (and the windmill and community gardens I didn’t speak of) can we continue searching out ‘green’ opportunities for the 14th District. Can we entice one or more of the water initiative companies to locate in the district.

Although Bay View was recently identified as the safest neighborhood in the city, we can’t be complacent. Is the recent reassignment of district stations responsible for covering portions of the district the most effective for the area. (this is an aside…I seldom see MPD in my area unless there is an issue…I see the SFPD far more often since I am about a block north of St Francis and they need to turn around). And with the large number of county parks in the district, can our next alderman work with the Sheriff’s Dept to insure safety for our friends and neighbors in our local parks?

And our alderman needs to be responsive to the constituents and businesses in the neighborhood and be visible in the district.

And although I realize the 14th District is more than Bay View, I see that I am Bay Viewcentric (although I was trying not to be)…so our next alderman has to make sure to represent the entire district.

This has been percolating in my brain since Saturday but I didn’t bother to write down any notes, so I am assuming I have forgotten something I wanted to include. When I recall whatever it is, I’ll add it below with a date stamp so that everyone knows it is new content.

6/9/2011 update: Here are a few other things that I forgot yesterday…development on KK has been the most visible growth in Bay View over the past few years…so now it’s time to fill in other former business streets in the area, Howell comes to mind for instance.

And with the merger of Fritsche Middle School into Bay View HS and the pending migrations of Dover Elementary and Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities into the empty Fritsche building, we have the opportunity to reconfigure these properties.


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16 thoughts on “Milwaukee’s 14th Aldermanic District

  1. Pierce is NOT somebody I want to represent Bay View. I also know this individual can be threatening. I have proof of that. He is an awful person, he doesn’t represent Bay View well.

  2. Thanks Zach for questioning the anonymous post. Wonder why it posted if a name is “required”?

    Anyway, Jan is just the sort of smart, thoughtful candidate that SHOULD represent Bay View. I served with him on the Bay View Neighborhood Association’s board, and was proud to work with Jan and others to help make our neighborhood a vibrant, beautiful place to live. Jan looks to solve problems by becoming well-informed, collaborating with stakeholders, and looking for creative solutions. This is just the kind of representation we need to lead us through the mess the state is handing us.

  3. I also served with Jan on the Bay View Neighborhood Association’s board and found Jan to be a refreshing voice of reason and genuinely good-hearted, looking out for his neighbors and the community. Jan is diplomatic while honest and carries himself with high integrity. I can honestly say I was overjoyed when I learned that Jan was running for alderman– I would be honored to have Jan represent me and my neighbors as our alderman.

  4. I met Jan Pierce and Ed Zielinski when they were doing door to door canvassing. I plan to vote for Pierce.

    1. If you are going to diss a candidate for public office at least get his name right…

  5. What’s not mentioned on this blog, are the number of incidents (that various Bay View residents have shared with me) in which the current alderman has bullied and/or negotiated situations to his own personal advantage at the expense of small up and coming business owners. We don’t need a Bay View like this. We need fair representation.

    1. Kristine, I am sorry that you didn’t understand the nature of this particular blog…you will notice that I haven’t actually mentioned either Alderman Zielinski nor Mr. Pierce in the body of the blog…I simply am laying out a few things I think need to be addressed going forward….in the next few weeks the second and third posts will appear during the month of August and I hope you can actually provide some facts instead of innuendo in reply to those posts.

      btw: I like Alderman Zielinski’s Solar program and Mr. Pierce’s suggested architecture board.

    2. Kristine, perhaps those incidents haven’t been mentioned here because we weren’t aware of them.

      I don’t live in Ald. Zielinski’s district, so I’m not always privy to all the goings-on in the district.

  6. Hi Bay View residents. What’s happened to our assessed value of our homes. Mine has received a 20,000 plus reduction in value this past year. I’m a long time resident and have made many improvements to my home. We all have been receiving yearly reductions. But this is over the top. Tony Zielinski and City Hall where are you. Are you trying with the state to create another neighborhood of homes being taken over by the banks? Leaving in it’s wake boarded, and devalued and properties? I feel that the Bay View residents need to rise up against these increases and demand a reassessment. I am part of Common Ground a grass roots organization that helps in the work of developing medical coverage, reclaiming homes, and finding secure jobs for many of our neighbors. She Sherman Park area is the first key in working with the five banks in the Milwaukee area that lend and or oversee properties that have defaulted or are ready to default. This model that I have listed above is one that I didn’t see as a possibility for Bay View. Let’s stand up and be heard.

  7. Allen, we haven’t all been receiving yearly reductions…my assessment has been stagnant for the past five years until it finally went down for 2012. And even with my lower revaluation, my city assessment is still more than I could currently market my home for. I don’t see how this is Alderman Zielinski’s fault or City Halls and it’s nothing they have control over…in case you haven’t noticed property values across the nation have been taking serious hits and quite frankly Milwaukee has been relatively stable in comparison.

    Please take a moment to check out my post on the issue from April 29th and click through to the MJS article and take a look at the charts:

    The 14th Aldermanic district is doing fairly well compared to many other parts of the city.

    And if you actually are a property owner, PLEASE take advantage of this opportunity to talk with the assessors office. They will have extended hours next week May 7 thru 11th and can be reached at 414-286-6565. Talk with them on the phone or make an appointment to visit their office in City Hall. From your post you clearly don’t understand how assessments are performed, the laws that apply to assessments and how they are determined.

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